President Lazarus Chakwera Thursday appeared before Parliament where he had an easy ride, mercilessly demolishing Leader of Opposition arguments against his State of the Nation address and answering all questions MP asked him with ease and confidence.
Chakwera, who put much seriousness in his responses, hit back at Nankhumwa for deceiving Malawians that their Party, Democratic Progressive Party, set a pace of development.
“After all, Malawi is neither the Singapore nor the Europe that the DPP promised. One of the reasons that Malawians fired his party from the government is because it significantly slowed the pace of our development,” Chakwera charged.
The President also trashed Nankhumwa’s accusation that the Sona did not articulate the issue of risk allowances for teachers, saying it should be left to the government to deal with.
“It is, therefore, amusing that even though he was a Cabinet minister a few months ago and supported the budget presented by his party, he did not, that time, have insight to include the risk allowances for teachers that he is now advocating for. His clarity of vision is only useful for looking back at his own failures and has no help in looking forward,” Chakwera said.
The President also challenged Nankhumwa and opposition MPs on the housing project emphasising that the project would save K2.7 billion in their housing allowances.
He argued the objection by MPs was not motivated by the desire to save money but to drain taxpayers’ coffers.
The President also refuted allegations that the June 23 presidential election divided Malawians, saying it is the DPP that attempted and failed to divide the country along tribal lines.
Chakwera also clarified on his reduction of presidential powers, saying he will not be responsible for the appointment of Director-General of the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) but that Parliament will be entrusted with the responsibility.
In his response to the Sona, Nankhumwa also queried the absence of Electoral Commission (Mec) commissioners who were nominated by then-governing DPP.
In response, Chakwera said the matter is being looked into by relevant authorities and according to the law.
The President also answered questions from MPs including Mangochi Monkey’s Ralph Jooma who sought an assurance of how unscrupulous supplies will be blocked from taking advantage of the Affordable Input Programme and allow farmers to benefit.
Chakwera assured the house that all processes are being looked into and that targeted beneficiaries will have access to the inputs.
On completion of the Cancer Centre in Lilongwe, he said his government, through the Ministry of Health, is working on modalities to ensure that a contractor is recruited to finish the remaining part of the project.
Chakwera is the second President to appear before Parliament as required by the Constitution after former president Bakili Muluzi who, of course, did not sustain the arrangement.
Meanwhile, Executive Director of Centre for Social Accountability and Transparency, Willy Kambwandira, has said it is encouraging that the President is committed to face Malawians and be held accountable for his actions and decisions.